The annual Chap Go Meh festival this year and the Hakka festival that follows a week later sparked the old tale of Chinese settlers in this small island that now became one of Malaysia’s attractive tourist destination.
For all its heritage, George Town depends on its ubiquitous, well-preserved old buildings to present a “Truly Asia” experience, a tourism jargon created by its host country, Malaysia.
Some of the epic buildings were inherited from the past British administration, located near the main harbor, but Chinese architecture dominates the greater part of the town.
Chinese ancestral temples are found scattered across the old parts of George Town, the very heart of it. It is note-worthy that not only the municipality protects these buildings for its historical value, the Malaysian of Chinese descents also care for each of their memorial center, keeping the tradition of paying homage to the past generations.
A couple of elderly in one of these temples are responsible to keep it clean. There is an office for them on the first floor where they occasionally welcomed relatives from other countries.
Malaysia cashes in from their tourism sector through basic steps of optimising what they have best to offer: nature and history. In the case of George Town, the government could foresee the incoming of foreigners from closer region if they could improve the general quality of infrastructure compared to the neighboring countries.
The sidewalks are narrow and not in their prime conditions like what other major sightseeings are supposed to be, but they are in relatively good shape, creating comfortability the people in neighboring countries are deprived of, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Phillipines and Indonesia.
Colonial buildings are typical to any other places in Southeast Asia, as these countries share similar past of western colonisation. But simply maintaining conservation has paid off. It costs considerable taxpayers money, but the reward for the citizen and the country’s image as a whole outweighs the small sacrifice.